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Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas, says the “status quo” at the southern border “cannot stand” as the freshman congresswoman is introducing her first piece of legislation aimed at establishing operation hubs along the border.
“My first bill, the Advanced Border Coordination Act, delivers on what I came to Washington for: to solve problems affecting my constituents and district,” Flores said in a statement to Acesparks Digital. “The status quo regarding border security cannot stand.”
“Regardless of what this administration says, our borders are not secure—this bill would fix this and ensure law enforcement agencies work closely together to stop illegal immigration,” she said.
The statement came as Flores, who was elected in June in a special election, introduced the legislation along with Democratic Reps. Dave Joyce, R-Ohio, Susie Lee, D-Nev., and Chris ps, DN.H. which marks a rare birtisan effort to tackle the crisis at the southern border – which has seen more than 1.7 million migrant encounters in this fiscal year so far.
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The bill would establish “Joint Operation Centers” along the border so that the hubs can coordinate border operations and allow information sharing between federal, state and local agencies. The hubs could coordinate operations to combat transnational criminal organizations and stop weapon, drugs and human smuggling. Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate earlier this year by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.
At least two operation centers would need to be required within six months of the bill being signed into law.
Rep. Lee, in a statement, said she had returned from the border in 2019 with a commitment to fix what she called a “broken” system and called the bill a “common-sense solution.”
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“Joint operations hubs have worked to improve federal and local coordination, and I’m proud to introduce this legislation to stand up two new centers to make our communities safer by cracking down on drug, weapon, and human trafficking at the border,” she said. said.
Joyce said that as a former prosecutor, “I know how successful joint operations centers can be, especially when it comes to detecting drug and human trafficking, and have no doubt they will help us address the national security and humanitarian crisis that has exploded at our southern border.”
The legislation marks one of only a few pieces of legislation that have managed to gain support from both Republicans and Democrats. With a slim Democratic majority in the House and a 50-50 split in the Senate, legislation related to immigration has largely stalled, with Republicans focusing largely on border security and Democrats often calling for ways to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.
The House Republican Conference has already indicated that it is looking beyond the current Congress, last week releasing a sweeping blueprint of border and asylum policies that it hopes to implement should it regain the House majority next year after the midterms this November.